Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Adoption: Abba, Father!

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:4-5).

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:26-27).

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Romans 8:15).

Basic truth

Adoption is the act of God whereby He legally places the believer into His family, giving him all the rights and privileges of a son.

Definitions of “adoption”

The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook, Walter A. Elwell, Editor, (Harold Shaw Pub., Wheaton, IL; 1984), p. 346

The process through which a person who does not belong to a given family is formally brought into it and made a full, legal family member with the rights and responsibilities of that position. The practice of adoption was not common among the Jews, but was more widespread in the Greek and Roman world. The apostle Paul used the term to illustrate the truth that believers have been given the status of “sonship” in the heavenly family; they can call God “Father” (Rom. 3:15; Gal. 4:6). Adoption makes it clear that our sonship is conferred on us, in distinction from Christ’s, which is inherent.
From Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Blue Letter Bible:
Adoption is the giving to any one the name and place and privileges of a son who is not a son by birth. There are three kinds of adoption: natural, national and spiritual:

[1] Natural. Thus Pharaoh's daughter adopted Moses (Exodus 2:10), and Mordecai adopted Esther (Esther 2:7).

[2] National. God adopted Israel (Exodusd 4:22; Deuteronomy 7:6; Hosea11:1; Romans 9:4).

[3] Spiritual. An act of God's grace by which he brings men into the number of his redeemed family, and makes them partakers of all the blessings he has provided for them. Adoption represents the new relations into which the believer is introduced by justification, and the privileges connected therewith, viz., an interest in God's peculiar love (John 17:23; Romans 5:5-8), a spiritual nature (2 Peter 1:4; John 1:13), the possession of a spirit becoming children of God (1 Peter 1:14; 2 John 4; Romans 8:15-21; Galatians 5:1; Hebrews 2:15), present protection, consolation, supplies (Luke 12:27-32; John 14:18; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23; 2 Corinthians 1:4), fatherly chastisements (Hebrews 12:5-11), and a future glorious inheritance (Romans 8:17,23; James 2:5; Philippians 3:21).

[1] Justification deals with a person's legal standing as sinner before God. Adoption, on the other hand, deals with his familial relationship to the judge. Through adoption, the believer who is already a child becomes a son with full standing.

[2] We are now God’s own children through adoption (Galatians 3:26) and He has become our Father (Romans 8:15). “Abba” is an Aramaic word for father, dad or daddy – an intimate term that Jesus used (“My Father”) and taught His disciples to use.

[3] Adoption is the work of God (Ephesians 1:4-5).

[4] Adoption is by faith in Christ (Galatians 3:26; John 1:12). The “universal fatherhood of God” is not a Biblical doctrine.

[5] Adoption is a result of the believer’s union with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27).

[6] Adoption has present, practical benefits for us:
  • God is our Father who provides protection, consolation, and supplies (Matt 6:25-34, Luke 12:27-32; John 14:18; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23; 2 Corinthians 1:4)
  • The leading of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14) through the Bible
  • Loving discipline by God the Father when we are disobedient (Hebrews 12:5-7).
[7] Because of adoption, we have a future glorious inheritance (Romans 8:17, 23; James 2:5; Philippians 3:21).

[6] General Scriptures on adoption:
  • Exodus 4:22, 23
  • Numbers 6:27
  • Deuteronomy 14:1; 26:18; 27:9; 28:10; 32:5, 6
  • 2 Samuel 7:14
  • 1 Chronicles 22:10; 28:6
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14
  • Proverbs 14:26
  • Isaiah 8:18; 43:6, 7; 63:8, 16
  • Jeremiah 3:19; 31:9, 20
  • Hosea 1:9; 11:1
  • Matthew 5:9, 45; 13:43
  • Luke 6:35
  • John 1:12, 13; 11:52
  • Acts 15:17
  • Romans 8:14-19, 21, 29; 9:8, 26
  • 2 Corinthians 6:17
  • Galatians 3:26, 29; 4:5-7
  • Ephesians 1:5; 2:19; 3:6, 15
  • Philippians 2:15
  • Hebrews 1:5; 2:10, 13; 12:6, 7, 9
  • 1 John 3:1, 2, 10; 4:4
  • Revelation 21:7
Further study (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Soteriology: The Doctrine of Salvation (Session 56), Emery Nester Ed.D., D.Min

[2] From Agony to Ecstasy (Romans 8), by Bob Deffinbaugh, Th.M

[3] The Believer’s Unfathomable Riches in Christ, by J. Hampton Keathley, III, Th.M.

Sermons on adoption (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Illustrations on adoption, from

[2] Sons of God, by Melburn H. Hardin

[3] Sons of God Through Faith, by Kevin Grant

[4] Marks of True Sonship, by Donald Robert Nelham Burton

[5] 08-28-05-Who We Are-Being A Child of God-part 2, by Ronald Wyncoop

[6] Holy Spirit - Who am I Gal. 3.26-4.7, by Emmanuel Haqq

[7] For other available sermons, please surf to Sermon / Preaching resources. Sermons are also available from South McGehee Baptist Church, McGehee, Arizona; Central Baptist Church, Lowesville; First Baptist Church, Mountain View, Missouri; Swift Creek Baptist Church; Word of Life Baptist Church, Pottsville, Philadelphia; Palm Springs Baptist Church, California; South Woods Baptist Church; Grove Baptist Church, Ulster; Dudley Baptist Church, United Kingdom; Independent Fundamental Baptist Sermons, Fundamental Christian Radio Broadcasts, Off-Site Audio Page and The Christian Radio Tuner

Articles on adoption and related issues by Sandra Glahn, ThM (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

Notes: (1) This ministry does not necessarily endorse or share all the views and opinions expressed in the materials, resources or links mentioned in these posts. Please always refer to the Articles of Faith and Biblical distinctives of Baptists when you study these materials. (2) This lesson is part of the projected 300 plus lessons. From time to time, the lessons will be updated, revised, combined, formatted, and edited to comply with the VOA Simplified English word list. Later on, these lessons will be categorized, numbered sequentially, and made available as PDF downloads.

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